"Long before there was Lizzie Borden, there were ax murders, insanity, and torn families in New England. No one has tackled the issues of domestic violence, divorce, murder, and madness in colonial New England in the masterly way that Chamberlain does in this historical detective story. The saga of Elizabeth Tuttle and her extended family sheds a light on the sometimes unpleasant realities of a romanticized past. At every turn, the author grounds the individual tragedies of Elizabeth and her families in the rich context of early modern Anglo-American society, drawing meaning from individual events. Anyone interested in seriously confronting the true past behind Elizabeth's grandson Jonathan Edwards, America's most influential religious figure, must come to grips with this revealing study." -Kenneth P. Minkema,Executive Editor, Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University
"With indefatigable thoroughness, lucid prose, and a clear eye for interpersonal dynamics embedded in court records, Ava Chamberlain has left no stone unturned in describing the tragic aspect of the Edwards family's history. Students of colonial New England will find this deep investigation into the life and legacy of Elizabeth Tuttle nothing less than enthralling." -Amanda Porterfield,Florida State University
"Ava Chamberlain has constructed an amazing little book using shards, simple ingenuity, and adroitly focused scholarship upending a 300 year old myth about Elizabeth Tuttle, the allegedly crazed, sex-starved, divorced grandmother of the great eighteenth-century Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards. Chamberlain recovers a woman who exemplified the tragedy of a failed marriage in a society that, disastrously for Tuttle, saw poisonous accusation as the only way to explain common human foibles. That Tuttle's painful saga opened the way for the careers of both Jonathan Edwards and his father Timothy is only one of the ironies exposed by Chamberlain's ingenious book."
-Jon Butler,Yale University
"Recovering a lost chapter of early American intellectual and religious history, Chamberlain reveals not a harridan but a woman whose life was ruined by wrong choices and inconsolable griefs."-Publishers Weekly
"Chamberlain (religion, Wright State Univ.), an expert on religion in Colonial America, beautifully displays her expertise in this microhistory about Puritan goodwife Elizabeth Tuttle, the paternal grandmother of theologian Jonathan Edwards...Chamberlain paints a more human and sympathetic portrait. She condenses an immense amount of information into a relatively short book, with extensive notes showcasing the depth of research. The lack of a written record by Tuttle herself is a drawback, but Chamberlain uses the many other primary sources surrounding Tuttle’s life to flesh out the narrative. This is a lovely book that will appeal to all readers intrigued by American history, women’s history, gender studies, or religious studies."-Library Journal